I'm in Buenos Aires through next week, and it's pretty great here when you come with American dollars and discover that a three-course dinner with a bottle of wine at one of the nicest French restaurants in the city costs the equivalent of $40 per person. Also good is the omnipresence and frequently expected consumption of facturas con cafe, which similarly cost next to nothing, and are available from cafes that are open at all hours and offer free wifi. (Those who, like me, fervently believe that pastries are a breakfast food, take note: there appear to be about four or five daily meals here, and three of them consist of pastries.)
Which raises the question: in a society so totally conducive to the grad student lifestyle - everything is open late, fine dining and alcohol are cheap, and caffeinated workspace is everywhere - why isn't everyone a grad student? I posed this question to some of my husband's relatives, who were puzzled by it and replied that being a grad student is hard. Maybe, but it seems a lot less hard here! My husband suggests that people are generally about as inefficient as grad students, so it amounts to the same. (I don't know about labor efficiency, but the kids do seem to spend a lot more time in school each day than Americans, but we never hear about any impressive outcomes of the Argentine education system.)
Finally, there is the problem of the platform shoe. Every woman in Buenos Aires is wearing the chunky platform that very briefly reached maximum coolness in 1997. Since leather goods are also cheaper here than in the US, I was hoping to obtain a pair of ankle boots, but it seems that, given local trends, this aspiration can only result in the unfortunate acquisition of something like this:
The question is, would owning such shoes make me fashion I prescient, like an early adopter of a thing that is just about to become huge back home? Or will it make me a late-90s goth teen revivalist?